ProCare announces new members to Youth Advisory Group

ProCare, a leading healthcare provider, is pleased to announce four new members to its Youth Advisory Group (YAG). The 11 young people who make up the group provide guidance to ProCare, based on lived experience, to help improve health outcomes for children and young people across Tāmaki Makaurau. The group also helps guide implementation of ProCare’s Population Health Strategy.

Dr Sue Wells, Associate Clinical Director at ProCare says: “Recent data taken from our population health needs analysis, called Our Picture of Health, shows that one in five (20%) of young people aged 15 – 24 enrolled with a general practice did not visit their GP over a two-year period.”

“Young people have specific health needs as they move through childhood, adolescence and into adulthood and are at higher risk of substance and alcohol misuse, mental health disorders, or contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). The 2020 Youth2000 survey highlighted that 23% of students in the survey reported significant symptoms of depression. This has almost doubled for many groups since 2012. Symptoms are higher among female students, Māori, Pasifika and Asian students, those in lower income communities and those from sexual and gender minority groups,” she continues.

“The best people to inform us about what they need from healthcare services are young people themselves. The 11 young people in the ProCare Youth Advisory Group are from diverse backgrounds and lifestyles. Their input will help us to understand how things are for young people now, in particular young Māori and Pacific youth, and what needs to change so they can get the care they need from their local doctor or mental health service,” she concludes.

New member of the YAG, 16 year old Skyler Anderson, says: “I’m excited to be a part of the Youth Advisory Group because I'm interested in learning more about the issues that young people face and how we can address them. I am enthusiastic about these topics and aim to collaborate with like-minded individuals to improve New Zealand's mental health care system.”

The ProCare Youth Advisory Group initially started in 2020 as a pilot and has since been implemented permanently by ProCare. The group will serve for a 12-month term where young people aged between 14 and 24 will act as ambassadors for young Aucklanders by meeting regularly to provide insight into how young people think and feel about life in New Zealand, with a particular focus on how they like to interact with primary care and mental health services.

We are working closely with Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, tangata whenua of central Tāmaki Makaurau to appoint a rangatahi from this rohe. Information provided by the group will help ProCare to deliver on its goal of increasing ‘Youth engagement with primary care’ as part of its Population Health Strategy.

New members

  • Ayush Singh: 15 year old of Fijian Indian ethnicity that attends Macleans College
  • Depali Lamba: 15 year old of Indian ethnicity that attends Pakuranga College
  • Leila Belt: 16 year old of Samoan & NZ European ethnicities that attends Mt Albert Grammar School
  • Skyler Anderson: 16 year old of Indian, Japanese and NZ European decent that attends Carmel College

Existing members

  • Ayush Sharma (co-chair): Ayush is currently studying a BHSc/LLB(Hons) at the University of Auckland. He is also a Mental Health and Disability Law Committee Student Representative at ADLS and a Submissions Sub-Committee Member for the New Zealand Law Student’s Association. He is of Indian ethnicity
  • Ogonna Nweke (co-chair): Oggy is also an Advisor for Global Citizenship NZ and has been an intern at the Office of Human Rights Proceedings and YouthLaw Aotearoa. Oggy is of Nigerian ethnicity
  • Danial Ahmed: Danial has a Bachelor of Health Sciences from the University of Auckland, has been a student representative for the Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences at the University of Auckland and has also interned at Alliance Health Plus. He is of Pakistani descent
  • Amy Kong: Amy graduated from the University of Auckland at the end of 2021 and is currently working at Auckland Hospital as nurse in a cardiac ward. She is the youngest of four children, was born and raised in Hamilton and is of Chinese ethnicity
  • Ken Tse: Ken is in his final year of his BHSc/LLB studies at the University of Auckland and works part time as a Tumour Stream Development Coordinator at Auckland DHB. He has also been a Legal Assistant at YouthLaw Aotearoa and was a Student Representative at the School of Population Health at the University of Auckland. He is of Chinese descent.
  • Kahlia Pai (Te Ākitai Waiohua – Ngāti Te Ata, Te Āti Awa – Kaitangata, Ngāti Maniapoto - Kinohaku): Kahlia is a Te Taonga Waka Ama winner, Blues Award recipient and Student contribution award winner.
  • Carolyn Matthew: Is of Indian ethnicity and is passionate about working with young people who understand the important of equity in healthcare.
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